KUTV.com | Stories - Possible Compromise On Immigration Reform Takes Shape
Tuesday, June 18 2013, 10:05 AM MDT
Possible Compromise On Immigration Reform Takes Shape
Washington (CNN) -- Undocumented immigrants would be able to seek legal status without first going home under a compromise framework floated Monday by a bipartisan group of senators, according to a source familiar with the plan.

The outline for a possible immigration reform bill reflects a mainstream Republican willingness to compromise on what President Barack Obama calls a top priority of his second term.

However, conservatives immediately voiced their opposition to providing undocumented immigrants a path to legal status, especially in the Republican-led House.

One House Republican labeled the senators' plan as "amnesty" -- a politically loaded word that seeks to ensure conservative rejection.

Obama won re-election in November with strong support from Latinos, the fastest-growing demographic.

That has caused GOP leaders to seek a deal with Democrats that would provide a path to legal status for many of the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants --- an outcome long opposed by conservatives as amnesty.

"There is a new, I think, appreciation on both sides of the aisle -- including maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle -- that we have to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill," Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said Sunday.

"We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours, for a variety of reasons, and we've got to understand that," McCain told ABC's "This Week."

McCain is one of the eight senators proposing the compromise. Four are influential Democrats, while Republicans joining McCain in the effort include tea party backed newcomers Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Flake of Arizona -- two states where immigration is a major issue.

House Speaker John Boehner's office was non-commital, saying he looked forward to learning more about the senators' plan, while conservative Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, rejected it.

"When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs and encourages more illegal immigration," said Smith, who serves on the immigration subcommittee in the House. "By granting amnesty, the Senate proposal actually compounds the problem by encouraging more illegal immigration."

NumbersUSA, a group seeking to reduce U.S. immigration, called the Senate plan an attempt to "out-amnesty Obama" and said it was activating its 1.3 million members to push for congressional opposition.

The senators will announce their plan a day before Obama speaks in Las Vegas on immigration reform, signaling a major push by both sides to focus on the contentious issue in the new Congress.

Aides say the president's remarks on Tuesday will touch on the blueprint he's detailed in the past: improving border security, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers, and creating a pathway to "earned" citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

Those provisions align closely with what the eight senators laid out in a framework of their legislation, which was obtained by CNN on Sunday.

The legislators based the proposal on four "pillars." These include:

-- A "tough but fair" path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already living in the United States, after bolstering the nation's border security;

--Overhauling the country's legal immigration system, including attaching green cards to advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, or math from U.S. universities;

--Establishing an employment verification system that holds employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers;

--Creating a guest worker program for positions that Americans are either unable or unwilling to fill.

Democratic senators backing the plan include Chuck Schumer of New York, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, and Michael Bennet of Colorado. Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina rounds out the overall group.

Menendez said the time was right for pushing major immigration reform through the Senate.

"First of all, Americans support it in poll after poll," he said. "Secondly, Latino voters expect it. Thirdly, Democrats want it. And fourth, Republicans need it."

A source familiar with how the eight senators came up with the plan told CNN that Graham called Schumer after the November vote to restart work on an immigration bill that broke down in 2010.

Soon, a core group of six senators formed and met five times in the following weeks in the offices of Schumer and McCain, the source said, adding that Flake and Bennet also took part in some of the meetings and were the last to agree to the proposal.

An initial timetable by the senators called for a framework by the end of January, the text of a bill to to the Senate Judiciary Committee by March, and Senate passage by the end of July, according to the source.

The group last met on Wednesday, then worked through some details before Schumer called Obama on Sunday to tell him of Monday's planned announcement, the source said.

While specifics on border security and legal status for undocumented immigrants need to be worked out, the framework lacks any requirement for people in the United States illegally to return to their home countries before getting a shot at legal status, according to the source.

Obama came under criticism from Latino activists for failing to deliver on 2008 campaign promise to make immigration reform a priority of his first term.

Last year, as his re-election campaign heated up, the Obama administration announced a halt to deportations of some young undocumented immigrants in a move that delighted the Latino community.

Exit polls in November indicated Latino voters gave overwhelming support to Obama over GOP challenger Mitt Romney, who had advocated a policy that amounted to forcing undocumented immigrants to deport themselves.

Since the election, mainstream Republican leaders and some conservatives such as Rubio, a child of Cuban immigrants and considered a rising star in the party, have called for addressing the immigration issue instead of ceding the Latino vote to Democrats.

McCain, a veteran of failed attempts to address the issue during the George W. Bush administration, said the senators' proposal wasn't "that much different from what we tried to do in 2007."

Obama met behind closed doors Friday with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and vowed to "move the debate forward," the White House said in a statement. Rep. Xavier Becerra , D-California, who was at the meeting, said that Obama had indicated that immigration reform "is his top legislative priority."Possible Compromise On Immigration Reform Takes Shape

News Photos & Videos - Submit Your Photos Here

More Political Stories

Arkansas Voter ID Law Challenged in Court by ACLU
Defend 'Obamacare' Unabashedly, Some Democrats Say
Mitt Romney Stars in Campaign Ad
Landrieu Faces Her Toughest Political Storm to Stay in Senate
Big Bucks an Indicator of Outside Groups' Influence
Sen. Ted Cruz: Too Early to Worry About 2016
Obama, Biden to Announce Millions for Job Rraining
House Democrats' Committee Sitting on $40M Fund
Feds Charge Woman in Hillary Clinton Shoe-Throw
Landrieu Touts Fight for Oil and Gas Jobs in New Ad
These Races Will Determine Control of the Senate
Michelle Obama -- and First Dogs -- Visit Military Families on Walter Reed Campus
Will Chelsea Clinton go Into The Family Business?
US Senator McCain Mocks EU's Russia Sanctions
Rand Paul: Hillary Clinton 'as Bad or Worse' Than President Obama on Government Surveillance
2016 Watch: O'Malley Heads to Nevada
First on CNN: Christie's Interview with Investigators
Obama Marks Holy Week, Reflects on Kansas Shooting
Hillary Clinton to Address International Jewish Group
2 Congressmen Have Questions in Jill Kelley Leak
Paul Ryan to Iowa GOP: Give up 'Infighting' for Lent
Sebelius' Resignation and the Politics of Obamacare
Occupy activist's police-assault trial opens in NY
GOP Blocks 'Paycheck Fairness' Bill in Senate
Democrats Top GOP Last Month in Senate Cash Battle
Political Drama "Camp David" Chronicles Messy Path to Peace
Hagel: Russia Causing Itself Long-Term Harm With Ukraine Steps
Bill Clinton on Snowden: An 'Imperfect Messenger'
First on CNN: Graham Opponent Has Impressive Fundraising Haul
Army's Ban on Deadlocks; Other Styles Seen as Offensive to Some African-Americans
Sharpton Denies Any Wrongdoing in FBI Informant Role
Alan Gross, Held in Cuba for Four Years, Launches Hunger Strike
Husband on Kissing Congressman: 'He Has Wrecked my Life'
Farewell, Archie: Beloved Comic Book Character to Die
U.S. Navy Ship to Arrive in Black Sea by Thursday
Huckabee Back in Iowa
Many Doubt 1964 Civil Rights Act Could Pass Today
Pelosi: Cheney is 'Proud' of Bush-era CIA That Misled Public
Democrats Highlight Equal Pay in Political Push
Justices Reject Review of Case Concerning Religious Liberty in The Marketplace
Brown to Formally Jump Into Senate Race
Obamas to Attend Fort Hood Memorial
Ted Kennedy Jr. to Run For Connecticut Senate
Poll: Rate of Uninsured Americans Drops
Inside Politics: Democrats' Good Week
Oops Moment For Senator: He Shows Up at Wrong Hearing
Clinton and Lagarde High Five Female Political Power
Democratic Governors Raise $12.5M in Last 3 Months
Republican Candidate in Georgia Uses Obama in Ad
Seven Key Dates in The Seven Months Leading Up to The Midterms
Chris Christie: The $33 Million Man
Fallon, Dressed as Putin, Calls Palin
Bill Clinton "Wouldn't be Surprised" by an Alien Visit
Senate Panel Set to Vote to Declassify Aspects of CIA Report
Why is This Man Running For Governor of California?
House Panel Plans Vote Over IRS Contempt Issue
White House 'Disappointed' In Donor Limit Ruling
Jindal: GOP Needs 'Obamacare' Alternative
Las Vegas Among Leaders in Push for GOP Convention
GOP's Small-State Edge Boosts its Senate Hopes
Advertise with us!

Washington Times

Washington TimesThe Washington Times - Politics, Breaking News, US and World News.

Click Here for more!


Advertise with us!